These Doctors Are Transforming Medicine. Is Yours Keeping Up?

By Ankita Rao, Kaiser Health News Dr. Thomas Bellavia transformed his traditional medical practice in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., into a so-called medical home where patients are seen by teams of doctors and nurses.  He says it has paid off in better, more coordinated care for his patients and healthier income for the nurse practitioners and physicians in his group. Dr. Mark Holthouse took a different tack – limiting his El Dorado, Calif., clinic to 400 patients a year, and adding services such as …

The Affordable Care Act Turns Three

The Affordable Care Act is three years old. So what does that mean? What has happened to improve health care over the past few years? Let’s take a quick look: People with Medicare now get a 52.5% discount on brand-name drugs and a 21% discount on generics. People are already seeing a lot of savings. Medicare has a free initial checkup and a free yearly wellness checkup. Medicare also covers preventive care for free. For people with insurance, free preventive …

For Many Women, Divorce Means Losing Health Insurance Protection

By Shefali S. Kulkarni, Kaiser Health News Divorce is usually a painful exercise in splitting up assets. But for many women, it also means losing health insurance protection. A study released this week from the University of Michigan reveals that roughly 115,000 American women lose their private health insurance annually after a divorce and about half of them do not get replacement coverage. The researchers also said this is not a “temporary disruption.” They found that “women’s overall rates of health …

Ready for a Permanent Vacation Abroad?

I’m just back from vacation in the U.S. Good for me, but not so good for friends who confided they are suddenly on “permanent” vacation. As in “laid off” and with no prospects in sight. They’re being forced to explore their options. Suddenly, I’d become very popular at cocktail parties and other gatherings. “Can you really live inexpensively outside the U.S.?” my friends asked. “What’s it like to live in a foreign country? Is it safe? Is there Internet? English-language …

The Takeaway: Expanding Medicaid Programs Saves Lives, Say Harvard Profs

A study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine says that when states expanded their Medicaid programs, fewer people died. It may seem common sense that giving low-income Americans more access to affordable health care results in them having better health (and subsequently lower death rates). But critics of Medicaid expansion contend the program does not improve the health of beneficiaries and may even be linked to worse health.

Positive Hep C Test Could Mean Insurance Denial

It sounds like reasonable advice: The government is urging all baby boomers to get tested for the hepatitis C virus, which people often don’t realize they have and which can damage or destroy the liver. Except there’s one little complication, as msnbc.com points out: A positive result on your hep C test could torpedo your chances of getting insurance if you’re uninsured, or hoping to buy more insurance, such as long-term care. As reporter JoNel Aleccia writes, “Experts in health …